November 21, 2011

A Single Click

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Here's an interesting article on Warhol by Bryan Appleyard for More Intelligent Life. The last three paragraphs:

Warhol now endorses a way of life. One simple technology?silk-screen printing?dominated his career. But it was enough to show today?s technology-laden, hyper-connected youth that they could do it too. With the instant publication of digital pictures and videos, anybody can become a cyber-Warhol, swimming in the great ocean that pop imagery has become. Apple?s Photo Booth software reduces the whole thing to a single click?just by selecting ?pop art? under ?effects? you can change your face into a very credible Warhol multiple self-portrait. Andy, in death, is a generation?s mentor.

The Andy Warhol Foundation and the market may want him to be Leonardo or Picasso, but the young want him to be what Arthur Danto says he is, the overthrower of all such pretensions. It is in this balance of aspirations that Warhol, the god of contemporary art, now exists. In time this phase will pass and the idea that Warhol is a greater artist than, say, Robert Rauschenberg or Jackson Pollock will be seen as the absurdity that it is. The bubble will burst, prices will fall and the drinker of all that Campbell?s soup will be restored to his rightful place?as a briefly brilliant and very poignant recorder of the dazzling surface of where we are now.

The intellectual excitement of his attempt to destroy meaning is also close to its sell-by date. Prompted by Warhol, conceptualism?art driven by ideas rather than sensuous and emotional engagement?has ruled the art world for more than 20 years. It is a machine aesthetic, a desire to make art that is beyond human, and Andy always wanted to be a machine. But, though all art is in constant, self-questioning flux, one thing never changes?the longing to define, synthesise and express the human condition. In the absence of religion, it is art?s job to do this. For six years, despite his claims to the contrary, Warhol was an artist, a generator of meanings. Valerie Solanas and his own social ambitions put an end to this. Now it is time for us, and the market, to adjust to the fact that it is over.

Posted by Dennis at November 21, 2011 2:14 PM

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